Underage Girl Moves LHC Against Forced Marriage
13-year-old girl, who was sold for a forced marriage to a 55-year old man by her father, has filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday seeking protection and pleading for action against the accused.
Sadia had escaped from the custody of her father and brother-in-law three days ago before her forced marriage against Rs70,000 but her relatives were causing her constant harassment through police.
Through Judicial Activism Panel (JAP), a human rights and public interest litigation association, she has filed the petition before the LHC which was fixed before the court of Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry for hearing on Thursday (today).
Her father Irshad Ahmed and brother-in-law Mahboob Ali were allegedly forcing her to marry a 55-year-old labourer, Ijaz, in exchange for Rs70, 000, she submitted in the petition through JAP Chairman Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique. She said they had planned her Nikah for July 19.
Advocate Siddique submitted that Sadia had been separated from her mother three months back when her brother-in-law Mahboob Ahmed threw her mother and her siblings out of their home.
Siddique said she contacted a relative, Arshad Ali, by telephone on Monday who managed to reunite her with her mother and the rest of the siblings after locating their whereabouts as they were residing at some undisclosed place for fear of the accused.
Siddique said Irshad had begun fighting with his wife Kausar after Mahboob requested that Saadia’s elder sister Iqra be married to him but Kausar and her three sons had opposed the marriage and it enraged Mahboob who throw them out of the family home. He said Mahboob wanted Sadia and her sisters to continue to live with him so that he could sell them off for huge sum of money. He said however Kausar had managed to escape with her elder daughter Sumaira but had been unable to recover Sadia and Iqra, with whom, Mehboob solemnised his Nikah two months back.
He said Sadia had learnt of her impending nuptials on July 12 when Ijaz was brought to the house to see her. He said she had run away because she didn’t want to marry Ijaz or any other man for that matter.
He submitted before the court that Mahboob and Irshad were constantly managing police raids in search of Sadia to fulfil their motive but she with her mother had taken shelter at some undisclosed place.
He prayed to the court to issued direction to Punjab Chief Secretary and Secretary Home for protection of fundamental rights of citizens of the province as incidents of violation of human rights were on the rise.
He prayed that the police concerned might be directed not to harass minor Sadia, her siblings, her mother and other relatives, and instead provide protection to them. He also prayed for action against her father and brother-in-law for trying to sell her.